California wildfires grow in size as flames reach Rupert Murdoch vineyard

Creek Fire

Flames from the Creek Fire overnight on Tuesday. Courtesy Los Angeles County Fire Department

The dramatic Skirball fire, which erupted in Los Angeles early Wednesday, may have reached Rupert Murdoch's Bel-Air estate and has threatened other multimillion estates in nearby neighborhoods whose star residents include Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Aniston and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A view of the vineyard before the fire.

Murdoch's Moraga Bel Air winery issued a statement on saying, "The situation at Moraga Bel Air is very fluid at the moment".

Around 1:30p a firefighter with Los Angeles County drove by Murdoch's property and noticed a portion of his vineyards on fire with gray smoke filling the air.

The Tom Jones he mentioned is not the singer but the former chief executive at Northrup Grumman, who had lived there since the late 1950s. If this fire spreads across the hillside, that is going to be a major problem, devastating to the vineyards. Mandatory evacuations were put into effect Wednesday morning in Bel Air.

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The Associated Press reported that the evacuation orders affected around 200,000 people and that almost 200 homes had already been destroyed. The estate is located near the 405 freeway, which authorities have closed.

The winery, bought by Mr Murdoch for about 30 million dollars in 2013, has been evacuated.

The Skirball Fire alone has already burned more than 150 acres, with winds gusting to more than 50 miles per hour.

In the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, the Creek Fire destroyed at least 30 homes, blackened more than 11,000 acres and forced the evacuation of 2,500 homes and a convalescent centre north of Interstate 210 on Tuesday.

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